Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it will finally accept transgender boys into the organization.
This policy change nullifies a 100-year-old rule that allowed membership based on the gender listed on an applicant's birth certificate, rather than their gender identity.
"For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," the statement said. "
"After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realize that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient," Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said in a video statement. "Communities and state laws are now interpreting gender identity differently than society did in the past, and these new laws vary widely from state to state. Starting today we will accept registration in our scouting programs based on the gender identity based on an individual's application."
However, Surbaugh made no reference in his statement to the case of Joe Maldonado, an 8-year-old New Jersey transgender boy who was asked to leave his troop -- an incident that was what spurred the organization's decision.
"The decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution," Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality said. "We are incredibly proud of Joe Maldonado — the transgender boy from New Jersey whose expulsion last year ignited this controversy — and his mother Kristie for their courage in doing what they knew was right. We are also proud of the Boy Scouts for deciding to do the right thing."
The enrollment decision goes into effect immediately.